"Ironically, Job's only consolation comes from himself. Like many a great preacher, he finds himself in that excruciatingly lonely position in which his own sermons are the only ones that really speak to him.
"Perhaps this is the very school in which great preachers are made. When a sermon has real power, and when it comes with fire and with tears, is it not because the preacher is first of all preaching to his own soul?
"The reason he preaches to his own soul is that he can find no one else who will preach to him the message he himself so desperately needs to hear.
"A story is told of Charles Spurgeon, who was subject to black bouts of depression. One time he felt so crushed in spirit that he simply could not carry on with his commitments in his home church.
"Hurriedly he arranged for another pastor to fill in for him and then left town for the weekend.
"That Sunday he attended a tiny country church, where the sermon that was preached had such a dramatic effect upon him that immediately his depression lifted and he felt totally refreshed and eager to return to his ministry.
"At the door he introduced himself to the young, inknown preacher, thanking and praising him mightily.
"The poor man seemed dreadfully embarrassed, however, and finally he had to confess that the sermon he had just preached was in fact one of Spurgeon's own."
Excerpted from The Gospel According to Job, Mike Mason, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 1994, pg 229.
Four years of teaching in the Navy, and five years of preaching in a local church have impressed this idea upon my heart and mind.
It is a little advertised fact that the teacher learns more than the student ever will, and this is true for the preacher also.
A twenty minute sermon, will never, ever speak to what a preacher has learned, and discerned, in preparing the message.
I have often wondered how it was that my sermons were not being understood, as I understood them; and it seems the sermons were the Holy Spirit, actually speaking to me the eternal truths, that I needed to hear, and that anyone who followed the Christly admonition, "Those who have ears, let them hear" would have heard, and understood.
A second axiom, that really doesn't necessarily follow is: "Hindsight is generally 20/20".